Liberal party dumps conservative Noel McCoy for Castle Hill pre-selection over COVID criticisms

The NSW government is facing another pre-selection debacle after the far-right lawyer expected to replace the Transport Minister was dumped in a shock move by the Liberal party.

On Friday the “unashamedly pro life” Noel McCoy was excluded from running for preselection in the safe seat of Castle Hill by the party’s nomination review committee.

He said he was dropped due to views he shared on his website “North West Forum” which included criticism of the former Berejiklian government’s “damaging” COVID-19 lockdown measures and vaccination mandates.

Mr McCoy has also previously made his anti-abortion views clear and suggested policy changes in this area.

“Apparently good faith public policy discussions in defence of core Liberal values are no longer allowed in the Liberal Party,” he told the ABC about his dumping by the party.

The far-right faction of the Liberal party had been backing Mr McCoy for Castle Hill, which prompted Transport Minister David Elliott’s retirement from state politics in October.

His seat of Baulkham Hills is being merged into the new seat of Castle Hill and without factional support, he said he had to bow out.

Minister for Transport David Elliott
David Elliott said he had to take the “ups and downs” of preselections. (ABC News)

But his career may be saved before it even ends if the party now throws its support behind Mr Elliott.

If this transpires, Opposition leader Chris Minns said “heaven help” New South Wales.

“If he’s the answer to the Liberal party’s exodus then heaven help us because I think the question would be how do you reselect a government that’s completely out of touch, well the answer is you put David Elliott back in Parliament,” he told the media on Saturday.

“As far as this government is concerned their best people have left and their best days are behind them.”

a man standing outdoors in a park talking to the media
Opposition Leader Chris Minns said the government didn’t have the “energy” or “strength” to be re-elected.(ABC News)

Mr Elliot was the 11th Coalition MP to announce their resignation ahead of the March 2023 election.

In his valedictory speech last month he said he was “sad” to be leaving but his “guardian angel” could only do so much.

The ABC has requested comment from Mr Elliott about whether he would reconsider running for pre-selection.

In October he fired shots at Mr McCoy, saying he didn’t have the right “character” and the party should diversify to represent the high numbers of working mothers and people of Indian descent in the electorate.

Mr McCoy, a former Young Liberal president, has now appealed his exclusion to the party’s state executive and says if necessary he will also appeal to the party’s state council.

“The vetting process did not identify any probity issues as to my candidacy,” he said.

“I am a high-calibre candidate, with impeccable credentials, an entirely clean personal record and a long history of service to the Liberal Party.

“While I hope for a successful outcome, I fear that the Liberal Party has been damaged by this miscarriage.”

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